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Measuring the Costs of Crime

September 16, 2014 Comments off

Measuring the Costs of Crime (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service
From NCJRS abstract:

The discussion first notes the importance of approximating the cost of crime in order to determine the cost-effectiveness of efforts to reduce crime. In this calculation, the authors reject an assumption often made about crime-reduction expenditures in relation to reduction in crime costs; for example, if the costs of social condition X were $100 billion and an intervention would cut the condition’s prevalence by 10 percent, the value of that intervention is estimated to be about $20 billion. The authors argue against this assumption, noting that a 10-percent reduction in the risk for criminal victimization will not generally lead to a 10-percent reduction in completed crime. This is because it will tend to reduce precaution, increasing the “supply” of criminal opportunity as “demand” falls. A 10-percent reduction in completed crime might occasion a reduction in total crime costs either greater or less than 10 percent, because of the gains from reduced precaution. Similarly, reduced criminality might lead to reduced criminal justice expenditure. The point being made in this paper is that expenditures on crime control and crime rates are not tightly bound, and a reduction in crime will not directly mitigate all the factors that result from crime. Thus, in making effective criminal justice policy, analysis of victimization costs must be supplemented by an analysis of primary and secondary avoidance costs and residual fear that affect people’s well-being. 22 references

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Domestic Terrorism Appears to Be Reemerging as a Priority at the Department of Justice, CRS Insights (August 15, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Domestic Terrorism Appears to Be Reemerging as a Priority at the Department of Justice, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

In June 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the reestablishment of its Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, which had been defunct for several years. The committee includes DOJ leaders and is “co-chaired by a member of the U.S. Attorney community, the [DOJ] National Security Division, and the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation].” It is designed to “coordinate closely with U.S. Attorneys and other key public safety officials across the country to promote information-sharing and ensure an effective, responsive, and organized joint effort.” The reestablishment suggests that officials are raising the profile of domestic terrorism as an issue within DOJ after more than a decade of heightened focus on both foreign terrorist organizations and homegrown individuals inspired by violent jihadist groups based abroad. The amplification of this issue by DOJ may be of interest to congressional policy makers.

Video Evidence: A Law Enforcement Guide to Resources and Best Practices

September 1, 2014 Comments off

Video Evidence: A Law Enforcement Guide to Resources and Best Practices
Source: Bureau of Justice Assistance

With the rapid growth and improvements in video technology used in government, business, and personal applications, law enforcement leaders are recognizing the importance of improving their agencies’ capabilities of utilizing that video evidence to solve crimes. Despite the growing availability of video evidence, many state and local law enforcement agencies have indicated that gathering and analyzing video information can be very difficult. Video evidence can come from a multitude of different devices, with differing systems, formats, players, and technology, yet an agency’s ability to properly secure, catalog, store, and maintain its evidentiary value and integrity is critical to a professional police organization. Clearly, guidance and best practices are needed to improve public safety agencies’ ability to appropriately utilize and manage video data.

The purpose of this resource is to provide answers to straightforward common questions that law enforcement officers, or the agencies they represent, may have regarding properly securing, collecting, storing, and analyzing video by directing them to valuable tools and resources from experts in the field.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth

August 29, 2014 Comments off

Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors Among Detained Youth (PDF)
Source: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Incarcerated youth die by suicide at a rate two to three times higher than that of youth in the general population. In this bulletin, the authors examine suicidal thoughts and behaviors among 1,829 youth ages 10 to 18 in the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL.

Key findings include the following:
• Approximately 1 in 10 juvenile detainees (10.3 percent) thought about suicide in the past 6 months, and 11 percent had attempted suicide.
• More than one-third of male juvenile detainees and nearly half of female juvenile detainees felt hopeless or thought a lot about death or dying in the 6 months prior to detention.
• Recent suicide attempts were most prevalent in female detainees and youth with anxiety disorders.
• Fewer than half of detainees with recent thoughts of suicide had told anyone about their suicidal thoughts.

Jails In Indian Country, 2013

August 25, 2014 Comments off

Jails In Indian Country, 2013
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Presents findings from the 2013 Survey of Jails in Indian Country, an enumeration of 79 jails, confinement facilities, detention centers, and other correctional facilities operated by tribal authorities or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This report examines the trends from 2000 to 2013 in the number of adults and juveniles held, type of offense, number of persons confined on the last weekday in June, peak population, average daily population, admissions in June, and expected average length of stay in jail at admission. It also provides data on rated capacity, facility crowding, and jail staffing in June 2013. In addition, it provides counts of inmate deaths and suicide attempts for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2013 and compares to counts in prior years.

Highlights:

  • At midyear 2013, a total of 2,287 inmates were confined in Indian country jails—a 3.3% decrease from the 2,364 inmates confined at midyear 2012.
  • The number of inmates admitted into Indian country jails during June 2013 (10,977) was five times the size of the average daily population (2,141).
  • Since 2010, about 31% of inmates in Indian country jails have been confined for a violent offense, a decline from about 39% in each year between midyear 2004 and 2009.
  • Domestic violence (15%) and aggravated or simple assault (10%) accounted for the largest percentage of violent offenders at midyear 2013, followed by unspecified violence (5%) and rape or sexual assault (2%).
  • Nearly 2 in 10 inmates were held for public intoxication at midyear 2013.

State Government Indigent Defense Expenditures, FY 2008–2012

July 21, 2014 Comments off

State Government Indigent Defense Expenditures, FY 2008–2012
Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Provides data on state government indigent defense expenditures for fiscal years 2008 through 2012. Trends in spending and comparisons with total state government judicial-legal expenditures are also included. The report uses administrative data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Government Finance Survey. This is a companion report to the Census Bureau’s report, Indigent Defense Services in the United States, FY 2008-2012.

Highlights:

  • In 2012, state governments spent $2.2 billion nationally on indigent defense, the lowest amount spent during the 5-year period from 2008 to 2012.
  • State government indigent defense expenditures showed an average annual decrease of 1.1% from 2008 to 2012.
  • From 2011 to 2012, state government indigent defense expenditures decreased by $45 million nationally (down 2.0%).
  • As a share of total judicial-legal expenditures by state governments, spending on indigent defense held steady between 9.5% and 10.0% from 2008 to 2012.

DOJ OIG — An Assessment of the 1996 Department of Justice Task Force Review of the FBI Laboratory

July 17, 2014 Comments off

An Assessment of the 1996 Department of Justice Task Force Review of the FBI Laboratory (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General

This is the third review by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) since 1997 related to alleged irregularities by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Laboratory (Lab). 2 The first two OIG reports focused on alleged FBI Lab deficiencies, the conduct of individuals brought to our attention by a whistleblower, and remedial actions the FBI took in response to our recommendations. This report addresses how the Criminal Division Task Force (Task Force), created by the Department in 1996 and whose mission was redefined in 1997, managed the identification, review, and follow-up of cases involving the use of scientifically unsupportable analysis and overstated testimony by FBI Lab examiners in criminal prosecutions. We analyzed the Task Force’s review of cases involving 13 FBI examiners the Task Force determined had been criticized in the 1997 OIG report. We included in our review a close examination of cases handled by 1 of the 13 examiners, Michael Malone, the Lab’s Hairs and Fibers Unit examiner whose conduct was particularly problematic.

Although the Task Force made a diligent effort to manage a complex review of thousands of cases, we found the following serious deficiencies in the Department’s and the FBI’s design, implementation, and overall management of the case review process…

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